Frugal Gaming Review – Hero of Many

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Win or Lose, Sink or Swim

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five-score years ago, a great Frog, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Underwater Equality Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of white tadpoles who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of bigotry.

But one hundred years later, the White Tadpole is still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the White Tadpole is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the White Tadpole lives under a lonely lilypad of poverty in the midst of a vast pond of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the White Tadpole is still languished in the corners of aquatic society and finds himself in exile in his own waters. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition”

Attributed to Kermit T Frog on 24th June 2013

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Play The Game, Fight The Fight

YOU THERE! stop playing with your tail! It will drop off if you carry on fiddling with it!

Right then lads, at ease.  For those of you new here, my name is Major Zitz, formerly of Battletoad Command.  It’s my job to get you sorry lot ready for the most important and desperate mission of this god forsaken war.  I won’t jelly coat it, it’s going to be rough.  For you veterans who have returned from the Ouya, IOS or Android theatres , I’ll be looking to you to take the lead and help these new recruits as we open a new front on Steam.

For the tadpoles, your insertion behind enemy lines will be via flying frog.  The currents are looking choppy, so if you end up scattered, hold up, hide and wait for your Frogspawn commander to find you.  Once you’re reunited with your unit and commander, follow instructions to the letter and protect them at all costs.  The black menace will be everywhere and you will be the only thing protecting  your commander.  I know you have a tendency to eat each other, but save it for your enemy.  Any incidents of white on white, and you’ll be court marshalled.

As for you Frogspawn, I need you calm and calculated. You will be the brains of this operation and its success rests roundly on your gelatinous mass.  Meeting up with your team of fellow poles is of vital importance.  You’ll be extremely vulnerable without them.  They’re an eager bunch, but they will need your guidance and self control.  You’ll have a long stream ahead of you to get to your final destination.  The currents with be perilous, and the black tadpole army won’t be your only obstacle. Your strength in numbers will help you, but at times discretion may well be the better part of valour, let’s not forget that the tadpole who runs away, turns into a frog another day.

The survival of our very species lies with you, the brave Tadpoles and Frogspawn of this unit.  Trust in each other and you will get through this.  Time is fun when you’re having flies and, if you complete your mission and make it back in one piece you’ll have all the flies you could possibly imagine.

“Even though large tracts of our pond and many old and famous streams have fallen, or may fall into the grip of the Black Tadpole and all the odious apparatus of Frog rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight on Ouya, we shall fight on the iPhone and iPad, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength on Android, we shall defend our lily pad, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on Windows, we shall fight on OS X , we shall fight in the Steam Store and in the iTunes chart , we shall fight in the Google play store; we shall never surrender.”

Attributed to Slippy Toad – First Pond Lord of the Admiralty  15th September 2015

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La La La La

Hero of Many, is a port of a mobile game that’s just been released on Steam.  It takes you on a epic aquatic journey through a dangerous world.  It plays brilliantly, looks absolutely beautiful and if you are anything like myself, you will lose hours to this game. The general and well founded dislike for mobile ports on PC could be well and truly banished if more games like this started making an appearance.

Exciting, challenging, thought provoking ( well to me at least, this review was going to be about sperm or immigration before I settled on tadpoles). The game is engaging and utterly enjoyable. Trickster Arts have taken an idea that’s so simple and executed it with aplomb.  I love it so much I’m now considering digging a pond in my back garden.

SCORE: 9/10

PC Version Reviewed

Hero of Many is now available on Steam and can be found HERE

It’s also available on iTunes, the Google Play store and OUYA

Developed and published by Trickster Arts

LYNE Review

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LYNE
Android / iOS / PC
Dev: Thomas Bowker

Gulp. We’re about to enter a difficult and disturbing world; one where many people step tentatively, get burned and then scurry back to the safety of their free-to-play security blanket.

Yes.

The world of indie-developed paid-for mobile gaming.

You might be entirely comfortable with paying for random apps on your phone. Hell, maybe you’ve got money to throw around like so much wedding confetti, but I am always reticent to pay for games on my mobile devices. It’s pretty much thanks to Steam and Humble Bundle et al, who are constantly telling me I can have 2012’s blockbuster game I missed out on for £3.49. Kind of makes it difficult to justify spending a similar amount on some indie title that’s probably:

a) going to suck

b) only going to be played whilst I’m on the toilet

c) will probably control like ass and make me wish I’d just read the shampoo bottle instead

So when a game comes to my attention that doesn’t hit any of those categories it’s probably worth a second look, huh?

LYNE is one of those deceptively-simple-but-hard-as-balls games that cause great emotional tidal waves when playing. The slow, simmering creep of frustration followed by the joyful release of success – then back again. Your job is quite straightforward; simply join together shapes of the same colour using a line that you draw with your finger. The shapes are laid out on an easy to see grid and interspersed with octagonal intersections that need to be criss-crossed with lines a certain number of times to complete the level.

Sounds a lot more complicated than it is in practice.

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Successfully join all those squares and triangles together and you are rewarded with all the pieces turning white, disappearing and being replaced with another puzzle in the set.

LYNE’s puzzle sets contain 25 challenges in each and there are plenty of brain-teasers to keep you going – additionally there are daily challenges to puzzle through if you find yourself stuck on your current set.

The line drawing is satisfying and accurate but thankfully there is no punishment for drawing an incorrect line – you simply tap on the last shape you were happy with and start drawing again. The graphical assets are simplistic but wonderfully functional, you never become confused as all the lines and shapes are colour coded in clear, albeit soft, tones.

Those soft tones are replicated in the wonderful sound design of the game which provides a very placid backdrop to play the game against. It reminds me very much of the Hans Zimmer soundtrack to True Romance, which I’ve always considered to be beautiful. Apparently, the instrument used to play that song is called a Symphonic Marimba – I have no idea if it’s the same thing that made the in-game sounds but they certainly have the same ‘feel’.

Whether or not you’ll get much enjoyment from LYNE depends upon how much you enjoy puzzle games and how far you can cope with a little frustration when they get tough. What I can say without fear of subjectivity however is that LYNE definitely represents considered and well-crafted design in a video game. You feel when playing it that you are engaging with a polished piece of software that merits the small amount of money you paid to play it.

The final, and perhaps most overlooked pleasure that LYNE provides is something that is pointed out in some of the promotional material almost as a throwaway line – it reads:

Deceptively simple – connect the shapes – fill the board – lose yourself… in LYNE

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I think that concept of losing yourself is quite an interesting one. I think that LYNE must stimulate some very particular part of the brain whilst you play it and, whilst these are all geared towards solving the puzzle, the rest of my brain is slowly ticking away at other things. I can’t claim any great revelatory notions have come as result of playing the game but it certainly leaves me feeling rested if I don’t allow myself to get too bogged down with trying to beat a level that’s giving me trouble.

Like a lot of problems in life, give it a bit of time and bit of space the solution tends to present itself without too much fuss in the end.

Karlos Morale

8/10

LYNE is available now in most good app stores for £1.60

www.lynegame.com/